[R] Suggestion for posting guide

Adaikalavan Ramasamy ramasamy at cancer.org.uk
Sat Aug 21 04:49:21 CEST 2004

One suggestion is to begin the posting guide with a few summary lines
(table of contents).

Here is a good example with an informative summary

For R, we can have something like this (modified from the posting guide
according to my order of importance)

General information
* purpose of this posting guide
* more about the list
* acceptable types of question
* selecting an appropriate mailing list
* further resources

Do your homework before posting
* Search the mailing archives (http://maths.newcastle.edu.au/~rking/R/)
* How to find help within R
* Read the FAQ and relevant manuals

When posting a question
* use a meaningful subject line and do not leave the body empty
* use a reproducible example to illustrate your problem
* send your mail as plain text
* start a new thread properly
* ensure your bug is really a bug

Each of the starred can be link that jumps to a more detailed section
below. For example if someone clicks on "How to find help within R",
they might get something like

There are at least 3 ways of getting help in R, all at the R-prompt. If
you know the exact function name, type help("functionname"). Run the
examples in the help section to see if that helps in your understanding.
If you do not know the function name but know some keywords, try
help.search("keyword") and gradually narrowing it down. Typing
help.start() will bring up a help page in an internet browser. Please
note that you will need javascript and java installed and enabled to use
the search features.

On Sat, 2004-08-21 at 02:24, Gabor Grothendieck wrote:
> Martin Maechler <maechler <at> stat.math.ethz.ch> writes:
> >     >> dput(x)
> > 
> > Rereading the posting guide (which *really* is rather too long
> > already for beginners), I see that we already have an 'Examples:' section.
> > [Have you seen that, Gabor, and not found useful enough?]
> > 
> > And just below that, we say
> > 
> >   PGuide> When providing examples, it is best to give an R command that
> >   PGuide> constructs the data, as in the matrix() expression above. For
> >   PGuide> more complicated data structures, dump("x", file=stdout())
> >   PGuide> will print an expression that will recreate the object x.
> > 
> > I tend to think that
> > 	dump("x", file=stdout())
> > should probably be replaced with 
> >         dput(x)
> > 
> I plead guilty to missing this but in my defense I think everyone else 
> missed it too since I can't ever remember anyone using dump or dput in a 
> post.
> Also I don't see too many people using the built in data sets for their
> data either although perhaps that's changing since I noticed a post with
> the iris data set just today or yesterday.  The nice thing about using the
> built in data sets for examples is that it makes it easy for the person
> asking the question to include data and it makes the post easy to
> understand since it replaces a potentially complex expression to generate 
> data with something as simple as:
>    data(iris)
> reducing the mental load of the post.
> At any rate, I will think about this some more and I agree with you and
> Tony that its important to keep the guide short and its nice that we have
> a posting guide so can have discussions like this.
> ______________________________________________
> R-help at stat.math.ethz.ch mailing list
> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
> PLEASE do read the posting guide! http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html

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